Fire and Ice Faerie Song Saga Book 1 by Michele Barrow-Belisle Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
From USA Today Best Seller Michele Barrow-Belisle comes a mesmerizing tale of forbidden romance as deadly as fire and ice.
Lorelei knows nothing of Faeries or their dangerous bargains. But when she’s gifted two talents--music and healing--by the dark Faerie Zanthiel, she’s irrevocably convinced the Fey are real. Preferring invisibility over attention and fame, she shies away from her other-worldly abilities.
Until Adrius storms into her life.
The stranger with a dangerous mystique, and eyes that seem to see into her soul, turns up everywhere and knows more about her than any newcomer should. Including the condition of her mother, who is suffering from a mysterious illness neither modern medicine nor Lorelei’s gifts can cure.
Accepting his help to save her leads Lorelei into a thrilling world of Witches, Elves and Fey where nothing is as it appears. Even Adrius, whose feelings for her balance precariously between desire and danger, seems to be hiding behind half-truths. Yet, despite her better judgment, Lorelei can’t stay away.
And that proves to be her fatal mistake.
Ancient prophecy speaks of one who will prevent war between witches and faeries. Now, trapped in the Faery realm, Lorelei must find a way to fulfill the fated prophecy, or forfeit her mother’s life.
Time is running out, and the invisible tether binding her to Adrius and Zanthiel draws her deeper into their world. When crossing over might mean never coming back, can Lorelei find a way to save her mother? Or will one pivotal mistake put the fate of their world, and her soul in jeopardy?
“You look exhausted, Mrs. Johnston.”
I stared into her sunken eyes, rimmed with dark circles. My joints ached for a split second and then subsided. I saw the redness and swelling… the stiffness… They flashed like snapshots in my mind. Instantly I knew her fingers ached when she played the piano, and I knew her stomach ulcer kept her up at night. Onetouch could take it all away. But Gran had enforced the keep-your-hands-to-yourself rule at an early age.
“Oh, Lorelei, you know… story of my life, hon.” She glanced up at the oversized, walnut-framed blackboard with the specials scrawled in chalk, and handed me her menu. “Bring me the usual, will you? And a slice of that famous lemon pie?”
“You got it.”
The café was swamped tonight, the sudden cold snap meant lots of aches and flu bugs. People flocked to the Lemon Balm Café and Tea House for the ambiance as much as they did for the herbal tea.
I poured steaming water into the clear glass teapot. This wasn’t your typical English breakfast blend. Well, it was… but with a few extras added in. Then again, this wasn’t your typical tea house, and I wasn’t your typical teen. Not even close.
The freak label got smacked on my forehead long before I understood what it meant to be a clairsentient empathic healer. Basically, I can see when people are in pain, and well… heal them. Being gifted might sound great; but it’s meant a lifetime of trying to hide what I can do, and why, just to blend. In a town the size of Drearyton Cove, population sixty-three hundred, blending, was nearly impossible. After the quote-unquote incident, it was safer to leave the healing to Gran’s secret blend of teas. “Witnessing a child who could heal with the touch of a hand would be too much for people around here," she’d said. And so I listened — mostly — keeping my hands to myself, and staying far away from sports, parties, and people, which were no more than accidents waiting to happen. Not only for the obvious reasons: accidents meant injuries, injuries meant blood. Nothing made me hit the floor faster than that bitter, metallic stench of blood.
“Where’s the hawthorn and chamomile blend, Neil? Never mind, found it.”
“Mrs. J’s arthritis flaring up again?” he asked, leaning across the chrome counter.
“She didn’t mention it, but I can tell.”
Neil’s face folded into a grin, and we exchanged a secretive look. At sixty-something, Neil was our town’s resident hippy. He was as laid back as they come and wore his long grey hair pulled back into a perfect ponytail. Gran opened Lemon Balm twenty years ago, and Neil’s been here since day one, running things after Gran died and mom refused to help out. Pretty much since then, the whole town switched from coffee to tea. He’s one of the privileged few who knew why.
“Here you go. Enjoy.” I set the tea and pie in front of her, feeling somehow better about myself knowing in an hour or so she’d be back to normal and pain-free. It was Gran’s little secret. My little secrets were far more bizarre.
“So Monday’s the big solo?” Mrs. Johnston poured the amber liquid into her mug.
I forced a stiff smile, fiddling with the pencil tucked behind my ear.
“And on your birthday no less. Well, good luck, honey.” Her blue-veined hand patted mine. “Julliard will be lucky to have you. Although why you'd settle for composing with an amazing voice like yours…” She shook her head. “But you’ll do well. I’m sure if it.”
Funny… I wasn’t. It really wasn’t up to me. How I performed was up to the Faerie who gave me my singing voice; the one who had appeared in my room one night and promised to keep my dad alive if I sang for him and only him. People insisted it was dream, but the ice shard he used to pierce my throat was agonizingly real. Turned out to be a bogus deal, since my dad has been dead for over a decade. Yet somehow that Faerie still controls my ability to sing. It’s made every performance, and my hopes of getting into Julliard, infinitely more complicated. If my Faerie muse was in a good mood, and if Jupiter aligned with Mars, I had a shot. If not… well…
The door swung open, sending in a gust of cold damp air. Brianne and her steroid-pumped entourage strode in, filling the far corner booth. Jocks and cheerleaders.In my section… Great… I sighed.
“Enjoy your pie, Mrs. Johnston.”
Grabbing some menus, I approached their table and smiled. It was for Gran’s sake. She always insisted once someone walked through the door, they were customers who deserved courtesy and respect. It was hard to see the morons, already busy chugging sugar packets and playing table hockey with the salt shaker, as worthy of my respect. I’m not one for stereotypes, but they worked so hard at living up to them, it seemed a shame not to label.
“Welcome to Lemon Balm. Our dessert specials are rhubarb tart, chai green tea ice cream, and lemon pie.” I placed the stack of menus in the middle of center ice.
“What can I get for you?” I said and folded my arms, trying not to notice the picture of Brianne’s sore ankle that flashed in my mind.
Brianne looked up at me from bored, overly-mascaraed eyes. “Lorelei? Seriously, you’re working? Tonight of all nights?”
I didn’t reply to what seemed a pretty rhetorical question… Duh.
“Don’t you know what night it is?”
I nodded, confused at where she was going.
“It’s Saturday night,” she said, as if I was the brain dead one.
Then she put her hand on my arm.
Oh man, I expected bad, but this was going to be worse. Is she attempting to embarrass me about my lack of dates? It’s an easy number to keep track of. Counting tonight, it made zero. I wasn’t exactly what you’d call social. Most of the time, I didn’t really consider that a bad thing. I had little in common with the people here. And not only because I was different, though it didn’t help. I didn’t see the world like most people did. And I was fine with that. It was just that, sometimes, I wished someone other than an invisible Faerie and my dead grandmother knew how different I was.
“The weekend before the competition… Shouldn’t you, oh, I don’t know, be face first in a toilet barfing your brains out by now? Or did you actually get a clue and drop out?”
Snickers erupted from the rest of Brianne’s groupies and a surge of heat rose in my face.
She leaned toward me, her head cocked to one side. “I mean, between you and me, you have zero chance of winning. But hey, if you puke on Professor Higgins’s toupee again, it might make you more memorable.”
Amazingly enough, as much as I hated performing in public, I’d take it right now over listening to another word from her. Brianne was not only head cheerleader, but also lead vocalist in music class. I had the superior singing voice, but she was given all the leads, because her voice was at least consistent. It helped she could make it through a performance without puking on the judges. Apparently they frown on that kind of thing. She was also blonde, pretty — in a miniature Shih Tzu sort of way — wildly popular, and dating my temporarily insane best friend Davin Blake. He wants us to get along. I don’t see it happening, but for his sake and Gran’s I ignored her comment.
“So do you need more time to decide?”
“We know what we want.” Jake, the one who looked most likely to wind up behind bars, draped his sausage arm around Brianne’s shoulder. “Bring us eight slices of Chocolate Cherry Decadence, four coffees, and some cobblers.” He winked at me and I had to tighten my grip on the pencil I held to keep from whipping it at his forehead like a dart.
“No pie for me,” Brianne added. “Some of us actually care what we look like. And Davin loves my flat stomach.”
I rolled my eyes but unconsciously sucked in my stomach.
She smiled. “It’s sad really. You’re like, always here. Don’t you miss having fun? You know… parties, dates, guys… any of it sound familiar? Or don’t you like having a life?”
“I’m good, thanks,” I said flatly, fingers clenched around my pencil so tightly my nails dug into my palms.
“Can’t miss what you’ve never had,” jeered Josh, the spiky haired guy still wearing his football uniform.
My brows tightened. “So where is Davin tonight?” I pointedly glared at the quarterback whose fingers were teasing Brianne’s hair.
Brianne’s gray eyes flashed. “He’s got a basketball game tonight, didn’t he tell you?” She smirked. “We’re hooking up later.”
“Hope he’s not too tired.”
“He’s never too tired,” she said tossing her hair, and the redhead across from her giggled.
I didn’t want to heal her sore ankle; I wanted to break the other one. It was common knowledge Brianne was an easy score, but the thought of her with my best friend was one mental picture I didn’t need.
“Anything else?” I bristled.
“If I see something else I want, I’ll let you know,” Jake, her arm candy, replied, raking his beefy eyes over me.
“Perfect.” Deep breaths. Remember, courtesy and respect. I gave a smile I hoped looked as fake as it was. Spinning on my heels, I stormed into the kitchen.
“Hey, Neil, I need some cobblers heated.” I could feel my blood pressure rising. Maybe Brianne needed to be too tired tonight.
I reached for the chamomile sleep blend we saved for the worst insomniacs. One cup and she’d be passed out in an hour.
“Now that’s an interesting choice… Sleepy-Thyme Blend?” Neil quipped. “Care to explain why the sixteen-year-old cheerleader needs a sleep-inducer on a Saturday night?”
“She wants to get to bed early,” I muttered under my breath.
Neil frowned. “Lorelei?”
I pulled my hand away from the canister and stared at the ground. What am I thinking? This isn’t me. I never abused the medicinal herbs or my gifts. It was part of what made me special. I wasn’t about to let them take that away from me.
“I wasn’t really going to,” I mumbled, my face growing hot. This was childish. I would go back out there and show her I was the bigger person. Maybe, if I helped her with the strained ankle she was dealing with, we could finally strike a truce. Perhaps become friends. Davin would love that. “Where’s the Vervain?” It was useful in healing all sorts of things.
“We’re all out.” Neil looked at me with his usual grandfatherly concern, wiping his hands on the pristine apron he wore mostly for show. “What’s going on with you tonight? You don’t usually let those kids get to you.”
“I know.” I sighed. “Must be nerves, I guess.” Why did I agree to perform in the competition in the first place? I hated performing live as much as I hated competing, even if it did bring me closer to getting into Julliard and away from here. Plus, a taste of actually beating Brianne would be delicious, but no one knew as well as I did how much of a long shot that was. I had no idea how I’d got myself into this, and it was too late to get out of it. The programs were printed and if I made it on stage without slipping in a puddle of my own puke, hitting my head, and knocking myself unconscious, I’d be singing. Maybe. Always maybe.
Neil placed a tray in front of me laden with sticky cherry cobbler, smothered with chocolate ganache and whipped cream. Just looking at it gave me indigestion. I wasn’t much for desserts, except for lemon pie. After pouring four herb-free coffees, I returned to the back booth.
The door swung open as I arrived at their table. I felt the warm, thyme-scented breeze on my skin. I froze. That aroma… again. Vivid memories of my childhood flooded in. Slowly I looked up. A boy walked in, and for a split second, a silent pause descended on the café, like a scene right out of a movie. This was no ordinary guy. He was beautiful… strikingly beautiful. It might have been his shoulder-length coffee hair, or his perfectly sculpted features, or the casual way his jeans and white shirt hung on his taught lean frame. Whatever it was, it gave him a haunting, unearthly quality. I realized I was staring when his eyes met mine.
I’m not sure why, but the entire tray slipped out of my hands and clamored to the floor, covering Brianne with dessert and hot coffee on the way down.
She screamed and then swore, jumping out of the booth. I covered my face with my hands, wishing there was a giant rock I could crawl under.
“Oh no, I’m so sorry…” I tried to wipe the glob of whipped cream sliding down her forehead. She smacked my hand away.
“Liar! You little witch, you did this on purpose.”
“It was an accident. I was… distracted.” I looked up to see the entire café staring at us, including the gorgeous stranger who looked slightly amused.
“I know you’re jealous of me. Do you think this little stunt is going to ruin my night? Even covered in whipped cream I’ll never be as pathetic as you are. Davin will always want me as his girlfriend and you for a friend, and you can’t stand it!”
“Really Brianne, I didn’t mean to…”
“I’ve been nice to you for his sake…” Wow. If that was nice…
“But we’re done. You picked the wrong person to make your enemy, Lorelei.”
Her face was as red as the cherry sauce working its way down her white tank top.
“Think you can make a fool of me? Well, just wait! Monday night, it’s your turn!” she hollered.
She stormed out the door, brushing past the hot mystery guy, who was about to be seated in Megan’s section.
I slunk onto a stool at the counter, dropping my head on my arms. This was not what I had planned. Pissing off Brianne was one thing, but right before the competition was something I didn’t need. No way was I going to let her humiliate me in front of an audience. I was perfectly capable of doing that by myself. There was no other choice. I’d have to back out of the festival, and just hope my classically trained, world-renowned concert pianist-mother would someday forgive me.
“Hey. You okay?”
The beautiful boy from the front table appeared beside me. I lifted my head and pushed the hair away from my face, wishing I’d bothered to pull it into a ponytail before coming into work. Perhaps I wouldn’t be sitting here now with chocolate sauce and whipped cream coating the tips of it in front of the most gorgeous guy I’d ever laid eyes on.
“I think you might have dropped this.” He held out his hand.
I stared up at him for a moment confused, before glancing at his opened hand. Nestled in his palm was a tiny gold lemon, from the charm bracelet Gran had given me on my sixth birthday. How had I lost it? My eyes flickered back to his. “Where did you find this?”
“Next to the pile of whipped cream.” He inclined his head in the direction of the corner booth, his eyes never leaving mine. “I thought it might be yours.”
“It is,” I muttered, completely distracted by his amazing eyes — olive and hazel with golden flecks — very unusual and incredibly sexy.
I stood up, still mesmerized. “Thanks.”
“Not a problem. So, you’re a singer.”
Slowly, I sat back down, gazing at him with a puzzled expression.
“How did you know that?”
He had to be new here. There were only two high schools in town, and no way someone as good looking as he was could have gone unnoticed. Wonder what his name is.
“Lucky guess.” The mystery guy held out his hand. “I’m Adrius,” he said, answering my unasked question.
I placed my hand in his. It was warm but electric, like a low voltage current.
“Hi,” I said, pulling my hand away. “I’m actually more of a composer. The singing is temporary. Like this job. I mean, it’s my grandmother’s café… or it was…” What is wrong with me? A time machine would be so good right about now.
“I know,” he said, a flicker of amusement crossing his face.
Something prickled inside me, a thrill of fear or excitement. I hadn’t decided which.
In his other hand, he held a brochure for the festival. I bit my lip. “Are you going?” I asked, pointing to the leaflet. I couldn’t figure out what answer would be better. He did have a great voice, velvety and foreign yet with no trace of an accent. Maybe he was performing too.
He smiled, and all the strength drained out of my muscles. No wonder I dropped the tray.
“Possibly… Are you?”
I squinted. “Actually, I don’t think so…”
“That’s too bad. I bet you have a beautiful voice.”
“Really… Based on what?”
He shrugged. “Beautiful girl, beautiful voice… It’s a sure bet.”
I gave an ironic laugh. “Well, your odds are 50/50.” Me … Beautiful… He can’t be serious.
He leaned toward me and a strand of dark hair fell across his forehead. “But I’m right, aren’t I? You do have a beautiful voice, at least fifty per cent of the time.”
The air caught in my throat. “You could say that, I guess.” My mouth felt all dried out.
He smiled victoriously. “I knew it.”
“You know, it’s really rude to gloat.” I swallowed, but it didn’t help. My tongue still felt like sandpaper. More than anything, I wanted to stay here all evening pinned under his gaze.
Neil came to the counter and stopped in front of us. I looked up at him expectantly, but he didn’t say a word, he just stared hard at Adrius.
“Something I can help you with?” he finally grunted.
“No. I’m pretty much finished,” Adrius replied mildly.
“Good. I'm sure you've got somewhere else you need to be. There's the door.” He had a trace of an Irish brogue I’d never noticed before, underlining his harsh tone.
Adrius nodded, taking his cue.
I gave Neil a puzzled frown. It was weird to see him speak to anyone like that. He effortlessly kept his cool with even the most obnoxious customers.
Adrius looked back at me. “Good luck at the competition.”
With a weak smile and a strange knot of regret, I watched him saunter out the door and then turned to Neil.
“Do you know him?”
“I know his type,” he grumbled.
“His type?” I repeated with an arched brow. I was about to ask what he meant when something started buzzing.
“Believe me, Lorelei,” he muttered, reaching under the counter for my phone, “Your life can only get worse with boys like that around.” Um, let’s recap… I dump a tray of food on the most vengeful girl in school, I have to somehow get out of performing on stage and making a complete fool of myself in public, and the only gorgeous guy to talk to me ever gets chased away. Could things get any worse?
Neil handed me my cell. “It’s your mother.”
I gave an exasperated sigh. Apparently, they could.
“Sweetheart, I have great news! My agent was at a party with someone who knows someone who works with Jonathon Triad, the talent scout for Juilliard. Anyway, I’ve convinced him he must come and see you perform at the competition Monday night.”
“If you do well, they might offer you a full music scholarship to Juilliard! Can you believe it?”
“But, Mom — I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. I might not…”
“Shhh, just relax,” she interrupted. “It will all be fine if you don’t freak out.” Way too late for that. The contents of my stomach were projectile ready at a moment’s notice.
“Juilliard has an amazing vocal program. You’ve wanted to go there since you were little.”
“You mean you’ve wanted me to go there since I was little.”
“That’s what I said. I’ve booked an extra session with your therapist in the morning so you’ll be in top shape. Can’t risk having you fall flat on your face and embarrassing me again.”
That was so like her, to take even my humiliations and make them her own.
“Of course not. Who wants a repeat of that?” I muttered, chewing my thumbnail.
“Exactly. Especially since I won’t be there to run damage control. I leave for Ireland at noon.”
“Oh, right, your tour. How long will you be gone this time?”
“Just a few months. You’ll be staying with Great Aunt Camilla again.”
I made a face, the way little kids do when you feed them something they don’t like. “She hates me.”
“She doesn’t hate you. She’s just… hard to warm up to.”
“Well, I hate her.”
“Lorelei Kaylen, I don’t have time for your tantrums. I’ve always done everything I can to support your singing. Is it too much to ask that my only daughter unselfishly supports me for a change?”
I sighed. You could almost hear the soap opera score in the background.
“Now don’t waste too much time at that café. You need to practice again tonight. I pulled a lot of strings, and I want things to be perfect. See you soon.” There was an audible click and then silence. Unbelievable. I clicked off my phone and poured myself a cup of lemon balm tea. Not that I was crazy about it, but it settles the stomach and mine was now heaving uncontrollably. As a composer, I could stick to singing in private. And up until now, the competition had just been another thing to add to my college application… an extracurricular that showed I took an interest in all aspects of music. Now it could potentially become a huge strike against me being accepted.
I glanced around. The beautiful new boy was gone, and so was the familiar scent of thyme. For the first time since I could remember, the café felt strangely cold. The ocher stuccoed walls with their warm sunny disposition were in direct contrast with mine.
Neil reached over and patted me on the shoulder. “Cheer up,” he said sounding more like himself. “Look at it this way. What else could possibly go wrong?” What else could possibly go wrong? What else couldn’t? In the course of a few hours my life had suddenly gone from bad to epic.
Author, artist, teacher, lover of chocolate…Michele Barrow-Belisle has always lived with one foot in the real world and one foot in the imaginary. So, it follows that she would grow up to write about characters from those enchanting worlds she knows and loves so well.
As a fan of romanticizing the mundane, Michele’s young adult novels are populated with scintillating Witches, Elves and Fey, and her illustrated children’s books reflect her otherworldly imaginings. Her bestselling debut series Fire and Ice (Faerie Song Saga) is currently in development for a major motion picture.
Michele is a USA Today bestselling author, residing in southern Canada with her husband and son who indulge her ever-growing obsession with reading, writing and most importantly… chocolate.
So Fire & Ice was optioned for a Movie! Exciting! What can you tell us about that? Well, as you can imagine we’re all super excited about it! And I’ve had a lot of conversations with the producer, who fortunately wants to keep me on board in adapting the book to a screenplay. That doesn’t always happen, so I’m very grateful. I think it’s a dream most writers have, but it was equally important to me that my stories remain as true to the book series as possible. Hopefully we’ll be able to release more info soon! It’s so hard keeping things secret, lol. The most recent updates to the project are that it’s now being considered for a TV series instead of a feature film….so stay tuned!
Do you have dream cast in mind? From the very beginning I pictured Morgan Freeman as the wizard Hawthrin. That would be amazing! Other than him the other characters have varied over the years. I can see Jenna Ortega as Lorelei, Eva Green as the ice witch-Octahvia, Madelaine Petsch as Venus, and Idina Menzel as Vivianne, Lorelei’s mom. Still debating on who would be awesome to play the lead male characters…. any suggestions?
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your education, family life and such? Well, let’s see, I live with my husband and son in Southern Ontario, Canada. I studied psychology and early childhood education in university and college and then went on to major in business management. I spend my days writing and creating, the two pastimes I’m most passionate about. It’s so important to fill your life with the people and things that bring you joy.
Your favorite childhood books & authors? There were so many stories and authors I adored. From Dr. Seuss to Judy Blume there were countless stories I got lost in. The Narnia series, and several others by C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Ring by Tolkien, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Lord of The Flies by William Gerald Golding, Christy by Catherine Marshall, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews, Diary of Anne Frank, Jane Austins books, Beverly Cleary books, everything Nancy Drew, not to mention a ton of sweetheart romances read in my teen years... too much information?
What do you love now? Many of the books I enjoyed as a child, such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, I still enjoy today. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series... loved it. Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga... enjoyed that too. I might add I adored the movies made from those series as well. Anne Rice’s books, Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith, Fallen- Lauren Kate, Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Love all things Colleen Hoover, and I’m obsessed with the Netflix adaptation of Bridgerton, based on the books by Julia Quinn. That's the tip of the fiction iceberg. I also love reading metaphysical non-fiction books that question the nature of reality. So many books, so little time...if only there were more hours in a day. But at some point, I have to make some time to actually write!
Have you always wanted to be a writer? In the recesses of my mind, I would say yes, since writing was always something I loved to do. But it only submerged to the forefront of my awareness after several story idea sparks came to me refusing to be ignored. Once I started writing again, it was like a drug... thoroughly and utterly addicting.
How long have you been writing? Well, for nearly as long as I've been able to write, I've been making up stories and characters in my head. Writing them down just seemed the next logical step. As far as being a published author, it’s been just over eight years now.
When and why did you begin writing? I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil… make that a crayon. I used to make up stories and invent long involved plays for my friend to star in, when I was a child. I’ve had a journal or a diary for as long as I can remember, and the ideas for stories and characters and plots dance in my head constantly. I took a long break from it after university, but coming back to it again has been like finding a piece of my soul.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? I’d self-published four books on my own and published two books with different publishing houses, but I still hadn’t given myself that label. In the back of my mind, I had some lofty expectation that when I officially became a writer, I’d know... like the skies would open up and pour out rainbows and fireworks and stuff. Needless to say that didn’t happen. And it wasn’t until someone very casually and matter-of-factly said to me, “oh, so you’re a writer” that I gave it some thought and realized yes, I guess I really am. Now it’s so different, all these years later. I’m repped by a fabulous agent…Louise Fury at The Bent Agency and I’m excited about the various directions my author career is taking me in.
What inspired you to write your first book? Well, my very first book was so long ago that I can’t remember what it was about much less what inspired me. But this book (Fire & Ice) came from the characters in it. I woke up to ideas and dialog and scenes playing in my mind in the middle of the night and they wouldn’t stop until I began writing them down. I started, and I’m re-inspired every day to keep going. They still wake me up from time to time, often bringing new characters and new book ideas with them, lol!
Where did you get your inspiration for writing FIRE & ICE and BITTERSWEET? When I first started the story, many years ago, it began as something I could read to my son when he was about 8yrs old. I’d already self-published a series of how-to books by that point. We’d been reading the Magic Treehouse book series together and I had the thought, like many humble authors have at some time,I could write that.And so I started writing what became Fire & Ice. But the story wanted to become so much more than a short middle grade novel, and so I set it aside for a few years. I took an amazing online fiction writing class at Savvy Authors.com and fresh new ideas for how to shape it into a full-length novel sprang to life. It sort of snowballed from there, because once I gave the characters a new lease on life, they wouldn’t leave me alone until I’d finished writing the entire book. Then they went on to insist their story should be a trilogy. So then came the second book and third...which is when we decided it would be a minimum 6 book series! We’re relaunching books 1 through 4, and the 5this available to order now too. And now, I’m not sure how many more books will be added, lol.
What are your current projects? I’m currently working on Darkest Light the 6th book in the Faerie Song Saga (…it remains to be seen if it will actually be the last book in the series), writing and revising a sequel to the new adult paranormal romance co-written with author Lori Wilde called Entangled, and working on a brand new trilogy for a brand new publisher, that’s still top secret. I’m also working on a book of recipes from the Lemon Balm Café (from the Fire & Ice book) and parts of the Faerie Realm… as well as a Witches and Faerie book of spells. I’ve never been very good at doing one thing at a time or finishing one project before starting another. At any given moment I could have half a dozen things on the go. But I am getting better at completing manuscripts.
Do you have a specific writing style? I imagine I do, but it’s hard for an author to label their own style. I’ve been told it’s very lyrical and beautiful and real and that I write dialog brilliantly, so let’s go with that. It sounds good to me. I love to listen to the way people communicate….to listen and watch, it’s my favourite pastime, and so I think all of that makes its way into my writing style and how my characters are portrayed.
How did you come up with the title? I always had the title in my mind because of the characters the fire and the ice represent in the story. I love the polar opposites and the way that in and of themselves neither one is necessarily dangerous, but taken to extremes, they can be deadly. It’s simple and straightforward and unfortunately quite common, but it really does represent the story well. Plus the publisher let me keep it so it must have been a fairly good choice.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I’d love for readers to recognize there is power within them that may be lying dormant. To know that more of their lives and their choices and their destiny are under their control than they realize. The main character discovers this by uncovering hidden magical abilities, but I believe we all have inner magic to a certain extent. And that it’s our choices, more so than a preconceived destiny, that shapes our future.
How much of the book is realistic? To a certain extent all of it is realistic. Ok, so no, I haven’t actually traveled into a Faery realm and encountered other beings, but they represent people and places and situations that are quite real and very human. That said, the worlds are more dreamlike than realistic, and I would really love to visit. That’s one of the most exciting parts about this becoming a movie. The chance to actually step into this imaginary world in real life!
Are the experiences you write about based on people you know, or events in your own life? No, they are all made up, although after reading through my first draft, I realized that various aspects of the main characters reminded me of people I’ve known.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? J.K. Rowling. I love not only her books but also her story. It’s so inspiring. I confess, I’ve watched every interview, read every biography and even watched the unauthorized biography movie… more than once. ;)
What book are you reading now? Between hardcovers and what’s loaded on my Kobo, I’m reading Crave by Tracy Wolff, The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and in non-fiction: We Should All Be Millionairesby Rachel Rodgers.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? I discover new authors almost daily, so it would be difficult to list them all, but I really do like a lot of the fresh new voices in contemporary New Adult, which wasn’t a genre I was interested in before. And then of course there are the new-to-me fantasy authors such as Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas and Amanda Joy who I’ve loved discovering.
Name one person that you feel supported you, outside of family members. My writing mentor, the NY Times best-selling romance author Lori Wilde. She was instrumental in shaping my first story into what it is today, and she helped me take it from the boring walk-in-the-park it started as, to the thrilling compelling read it is now. *she said modestly.* ;) And now it’s been a huge thrill to have had the opportunity to co-write Entangled with her!
Do you see writing as a career? Yes, I absolutely do see it as a career and a wonderful one at that! There are people who will say you can’t make money at it, but there are far more people making a wonderful living at it. I chose long ago to align with those who believe in what is possible. It’s the career I see for myself for a long time to come.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I think anything I would have changed, I did change during the million and one rounds of edits. Kidding! Actually, relaunching the series has given me the opportunity dove back in and make all of the changes that I felt needed to be made. While I did add lots of new content, I had to limit myself, because adding in all the scenes cut from the original manuscript would have made for a ridiculously long book, filled with details only interesting to me and my super-fans, lol.
What kind of research do you do? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
I’ve always loves faerie folklore and Celtic mythology so I’ve read a lot of books on the subject. Fantasy is a genre I’ve adored since childhood. I once bought a book of spells to see what types of elemental magic witches Fey might use, and naturally I had to try out a few of them. All in the name of research, of course. ;)
Do you have a favorite character from the book? I really love Adrius. He’s the ideal hero in my opinion. Yes he makes mistakes and wrong choices, but behind them all is this unrelenting need for love, and his love for Lorelei. There is a soulful depth to his character that I hope to bring to life in a novella, sharing his perspective and his experiences before and after meeting Lorelei. He never really gets to fully give his side of the story and there is so much more to him than we get to see. He’s the ultimate good guy… plus, he’s really hot! However, my readers have a different favourite, one I did not see coming when I originally plotted the book….Zanthiel has quickly and vocally become the fan fave. And I kind of really love his character too!
Playlists for books is becoming very popular….do you have a playlist with your books? And what is your favorite type of music?
Here’s the playlist for Fire & Ice series (I’m working on the youtube playlist)
My Immortal - Evanesence
Forever and A Day - Jewel
Again - Flylead
Loreena McKennitt- The Mystic's Dream
Ce he mise le ulaingt (The Two Trees) - Loreena McKennitt
Whispers in the Dark - Skillet
Before We Come Undone - Kris Allen
The Secret Forest - John Kelly
Sweet Dreams - Jewel
The Magic of The Wizard's Dream - Rhapsody
Bring It Back - Kris Allen
Never Ending Road - Loreena McKennitt
A Dangerous Mind
Angel Stading By - Jewel
Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson
Fire & Ice - Pat Benatar
I create playlists for every story I write and I find music a very powerful catalyst in transporting me into the heart of a story or scene. Personally, I love eighties music, dance music, soundtracks and classic rock, but my playlists consist of a huge range of music, depending on my mood.
Do you have a particular writing routine once you start a book? I tend to be undisciplined when it comes to sticking to a writing schedule, which is why I love events like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Generally I write in a sporadic fashion. I might write 2500 words one day, nothing for the next two days and then bam, suddenly write 12,000 words the next. I’m trying to stick to more of a routine, especially now that I have three novels on the go and a deadline of the end of the end of the year!
What’s the most difficult part in writing?
Definitely for me it’s plotting out a story. I’m notorious for diving in without having any real idea where the story is going to lead, aside from knowing I want the characters to have a happily ever after. This method works for the most part, but it has gotten me into a jam on occasion, writing myself into a corner and have to restrict things in order to get out. Now I try to plot at least a basic framework before beginning. I also have a hard time writing concisely. I want to include every minute detail, but no one wants to read every last detail running around in my head. So I do a lot of cutting.
What comes first for you? The story? Characters? Or setting?
Usually it’s the characters and then they dictate the story and the setting. For Fire & Ice however, the setting came first, because Mythlandria was a very visual place that I could see in my head and I had a very clear image of how it looked.
If you weren’t a writer, what other path might you have followed? I would have to do something else creative, like continuing on with my sculpting business. Or graphic design. Or filmmaking. I don’t know how to live life without creativity of some sort. It’s what feeds my soul and brings me joy and lets me share that joy with the world. Isn’t that what life is all about? That or I’d follow my childhood dream of becoming a movie star.
Is there an aspect of writing that comes easy for you, and what do you find the most difficult (ie: plot, character, dialog, etc)? I often hear full conversations in my head, so writing dialog is relatively easy for me. It’s funny how you can say that in the company of writers and not freak them out. But fleshing out those character’s strengths, weaknesses and motivation is sometimes a little more challenging.
Now for the hot seat question! Tell us, if you dare, what is the wildest or funniest thing you have ever done (that you can share!) and what did you learn from it? I never could turn down a dare, so here it goes. I like to mix business with pleasure, so when a friend and I spent a week in the big apple, and we decided to make our New York experience as exciting as possible. We’d already completed our meetings with bigwig execs, and on an impulse, I looked up the address of a publishing house who had requested to read my manuscript. Our intention was to walk through the lobby, soak up the “atmosphere” and then hit 5th Avenue for some shopping. Well, security generously asked if they could help us, and to my absolute horror my business-savvy friend very calmly gave him the editor’s name and asked if this was where the publishing house had their offices. Almost immediately, there was a flurry of activity which included security asking for our ID and taking our photos, while a second guard was on the phone to the editor, notifying her I was here to see her. I attempted to explain that we didn’t actually have an appointment and that we were just visiting from Canada, then literally held my breath, waiting for the moment security escorted us out of the building, and perhaps even back across the border. But to my surprise, everyone was extremely welcoming, and we were invited up to their offices. The editors we met with were lovely, and graciously offered us a stack of books to take on our return flight. It was an amazing afternoon and we achieved our goal... it was in fact an exciting trip. I guess fortune really does favor the bold. Plus I found the most amazing pair of shoes, so how does it get wilder than that?! ;)
What is the most valuable advice you've been given about writing and what would you like to pass on to other writers? My advice to new writers is the same advice I live by: Start. And then don’t stop. It sounds simple and yet it’s profound. So many people talk about wanting to write a book, but unless you actually start you can never finish. As the queen of procrastination, I was guilty of this myself for a long time. Eventually you have to just do it. Don’t worry about whether it’s any good, just start. Keep going until you get to where you want to go. Then celebrate, decide where you’d like to go next, and keep going. Write what you love, relax and remember to enjoy the journey. And to quote something NY Times bestselling author Lori Wilde once told me: “You can do this.”
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